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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Landscaping & Gardening > Winterizing a Sprinkler System

Winterizing a Sprinkler System Cost


How Much Does Winterizing a Sprinkler System Cost?

 
average costWinterization: $30-$150+high costWinterization/De-Winterization Packages: $100-$200+
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In cold climates, plunging temperatures can cause water in sprinkler systems to freeze and expand, cracking the pipes, sprinkler heads or fittings. To prevent this expensive damage, it is necessary to winterize the system by removing all the water inside the pipes. In extremely cold regions this is typically done by blowing out the water with an air compressor, but in slightly more temperate climates some sprinkler systems may be designed for manual or automatic drainage.

Typical costs:

  • Hiring a landscaping or sprinkler company to winterize/blow out a sprinkler system can cost $30-$160 or more, and typically costs about $55-$85 for an average home, depending on the number of irrigation zones in the system, the local cost of living and the month the work is done.
  • For example, Lewis Landscape Services[1] in Beaverton, OR, charges $60 for a standard winterization before Dec. 1; after that, it is charged as a regular service call ($120). Horizon Landscape Company[2] in Wycoff, NJ estimates that winterizing a standard-sized system costs $75-$85. TriState Water Works[3] in Cincinnati, OH, charges $75 to winterize residential systems with 1" diameter supply lines and seven zones or less; additional zones are $8.50 each.
  • A system that is winterized will need a spring start-up and tune-up[4] . Many companies offer package deals which include both winterization and de-winterization services for $100-$200 or more; some also include a summer inspection in the package, to check that the system is functioning correctly during peak usage.
  • For example, Matt's Lawn & Landscape[5] in Otsego, MN, charges $120 for a fall winterization, spring start up and summer inspection; and GreenWave Associates[6] in Gastonia, NC charges $105 for a system shutdown and winterization, $105 for a spring start-up and system analysis, and $185 for both.
  • Although some experts warn against it, do-it-yourself sprinkler winterization is possible. Renting an air compressor typically costs $25-$75. Buying a home air compressor typically costs $100-$500, but it might not be powerful enough to remove all the water; prices for a commercial-grade compressor start at $1,000.
What should be included:
  • Winterizing a sprinkler system typically includes shutting off the main water supply to the sprinkler system; draining the backflow preventer; draining or using an air compressor to remove all water from each sprinkler zone; removing any fertilizer or rust-blocker injection systems; and shutting down the timing system.
  • IrrigationTutorials.com provides instructions for winterizing irrigation systems in temperate and cold climates[7] . The Colorado State University Extension explains how to prepare a sprinkler system for winter[8] .
  • For do-it-yourselfers, the largest home air compressor typically isn't powerful enough to blow out the entire sprinkler system at once (most experts recommend a commercial-grade compressor with a capacity of at least 50 cubic feet per minute), but it can be done zone-by-zone. Each zone should be blown at least twice, with time in-between the blow-outs (plastic gears can melt if allowed to get too hot). Family Handyman magazine provides do-it-yourself instructions[9] .
Discounts:
  • Some companies offer lower prices for service to multiple yards in the same neighborhood, or when included with other work.
Shopping for winterizing a sprinkler system:
  • To find a landscape or sprinkler company, ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors or the staff at local plant nurseries or home improvement centers. Or, search for professionals certified by the Irrigation Association[10] .
  • Ask exactly what is included in the company's winterization service, and whether the price changes depending on the number of zones included in the sprinkler system, or if there are any other factors that can affect the total cost. Ask about the size/capacity of the compressor used (some companies use a large compressor on a trailer) and the experience of the crew.
  • Request (and check) references from satisfied customers; verify that the company is properly bonded and insured; and look for any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau[11] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.lewislandscape.com/sprinkler_winterization_Portland_Oregon.html
  2.  blog.horizonlandscape.com/irrigation/why-winterize-your-sprinkler-system/
  3.  www.tristatewaterworks.com/lawn-sprinkler-winterization-service
  4.  sprinkler-activation.html
  5.  mattslawnandlandscape.com/services/irrigation/
  6.  www.greenwaveassociates.com/extras/winterize.pdf
  7.  www.irrigationtutorials.com/winter.htm
  8.  www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/04719.html
  9.  www.familyhandyman.com/landscaping/how-to-winterize-a-sprinkler-system/view-all
  10.  www.irrigation.org/Certification/Find_a_Certified_Professional.aspx
  11.  www.bbb.org/en/us/search
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